Wash. high court: Medical pot authorization doesn’t prevent searches of patients’ homes

By Gene Johnson, AP
Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wash. court: Doc’s pot OK doesn’t preclude search

SEATTLE — The Washington State Supreme Court says a doctor’s permission to use medical marijuana doesn’t preclude police from arresting a patient or searching a home.

In a decision Thursday, the high court upheld the conviction of a Stevens County man busted in 2004. The justices said Washington’s law only allows patients to present a medical marijuana defense at trial, and does not protect them from arrest or searches.

Five justices also ruled that generally, judges must allow a jury to decide whether someone is a qualifying patient under the law. In this case, a Stevens County judge ruled on his own that defendant Jason Fry was not a qualifying patient.

But Fry’s conviction was upheld because a defense lawyer conceded that his severe anxiety and depression are not conditions covered by the law.

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